Tuesday, March 19, 2019

A Garland Of Hyperlinks For Your Tuesday

     (With brief yet pithy commentary from Your Curmudgeon.)


1. What Is A Religion, Really?

     Bookworm has some thoughts, and as usual they’re eminently worth your time. As it’s a deeply personal reflection that segues into a philosophical discussion of religion as a category of mentation, I’ll forbear to quote from it. But I will quote from an old essay of mine:

     A religion must have two components:
  • A mythos: The supernatural “backstory” the believer accepts as the higher aspect of existence.
  • An ethos: What the believer must and must not do.

     Each of these aspects of a religion can be found, separately, in other creeds. For example, the Army has a definite ethos, but there’s no mythos behind it, merely the certainty that your platoon sergeant will kick your ass into next week if you should “sin.” Conversely, addicts of Buffy the Vampire Slayer adhere to a mythos about vampirism, demons, and the soul, but without an associated ethos to govern their behavior.

     No creed that lacks either component will qualify.


2. The “Gig” Economy.

     “Diversify your boss!” Scott Adams has exhorted us. He has a point. Job security is mostly a laugh line these days, and the prudent American wage earner does his best to stay braced for unpleasant developments. Many employers prefer this state of affairs as well…until they learn that But one of the consequences is a complete absence of “employee” loyalty:

     For 21st-century Mafia managers, old-country recruits “have what they believe are the old values, because the American-born kids don’t have the right stuff anymore,” that official said.

     The problem in the US may be a lack of loyalty and dearth of talent in a diminished Mafia (paywall), David Shapiro, a distinguished lecturer at the John Jay College of Criminal Justice and former FBI agent, who also spoke to NBC News, suggested.

     “There was always the assumption that there was command and control in the mob families, like our American corporations,” he said. “But I don’t think that applies as much anymore. Today the business units are more fluid. The cells are smaller. There is not that loyalty to the boss and the underboss that there used to be.”

     “You know the gig economy?” he also said. “Well, we’ve got a gig Mafia now.”

     (In the Mr. Spock voice:) Fascinating.


3. Alms-Giving.

     From the Gospel According To Matthew:

     Take heed that ye do not your alms before men, to be seen of them: otherwise ye have no reward of your Father which is in heaven. Therefore when thou doest thine alms, do not sound a trumpet before thee, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may have glory of men. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward. But when thou doest alms, let not thy left hand know what thy right hand doeth: That thine alms may be in secret: and thy Father which seeth in secret himself shall reward thee openly. [Matthew 6:1-4]

     But from the Democrats’ own Harold Stassen clone, Joseph Biden:

     Biden claims to be a Catholic. Pull the other one; it’s got bells on.


4. A Detectable Asymmetry.

     Concerning the Christchurch massacre, the lamentably quiet Emperor Misha notes:

     If the brutal mass murder of 50 innocent Muslim men, women and children is newsworthy, and it most certainly IS, then one has to ask oneself why the brutal mass murder of more than 120 innocent Christian men, women and children ISN’T.

     Is it because Christian lives don’t matter? Is it because the US media don’t expect any better from the “filthy wogs?” Is it because it’s not nearly as easy to use mass murder of Christians as a political tool?

     Or is it because there have been so many Islam-powered, Muslim-perpetrated atrocities that they’re no longer considered newsworthy?


5. “They’re All Thieves” Dept.

     And all that matters is whether they think they can get away with it:

     Elizabeth Warren a.k.a. Fauxcahontas is a candidate for the presidency. Remember that as the campaign season progresses.


6. “They’re All Murderers” Dept.

     And they no longer try to hide it:

     America Rising PAC posted a video of presidential candidate Robert O’Rourke responding to a question of whether or not he supported unnecessary third-trimester abortions.

     America Rising seems to think he dodged the question, but he didn’t. He was clear when he said it should be up to the woman. That brought raucous cheers from the Democrat audience.

     Pace Hayek, the worst really do get on top. They strive to, anyway.


7. There Is No Longer A Republican Party As We’ve Been Led To Understand It:

     Here’s the demonstration:

     The GOP is already moving in to curb the President’s emergency powers, The Hill reports. These are the same people who didn’t do it while Barack Obama was President or when George Bush was President.

     The President overrode the Senate and House votes for a bill to stop his emergency powers to build a border wall. They are now looking for a way to make it easier to stop his use of emergency powers.

     The Republican senators believe Congress gave the President too much power in the past. Only Congress should appropriate funds, which is true.

     The thing of it is, they already appropriated money for the wall. It’s been approved. They just didn’t follow through at the time.

     They believe the Act needs to be reformed and that does appear to be true, but couldn’t they support building the wall?

     No, they couldn’t. It would have gone against the wishes of the donor class, and they can’t have that. So much for platform statements in favor of a fortified border and strengthened immigration system.


8. Wisdom Won For Us By The Agonies Of Others.

     Kurt Schlichter is here to tell you. Here’s the Sunday punch:

     The fact is that an armed citizenry is a true backstop to tyranny, an obstacle to total control over society by a small elite that seeks unbridled power. Will we ever have to use it? We hope not, but think of it as a fire extinguisher for fascism – better to have it lying around than not to have it when you need it. This, along with the joy of rubbing your noses in the fact that they can strip you of the dignity that comes with being a citizen and not a subject, is the real reason the urban coastal left is so hellbent on taking guns out of the hands of law-abiding Americans and leaving guns in the hands of people they control. Remember, the left is pro-guns. It’s just anti-you having guns too.

     The existence of murderous creeps, combined with a rising crime rate and the media beaming us scenes of oppression in Venezuela, where those dummies compounded their foolishness in electing socialists by allowing themselves to be disarmed, reinforce the imperative of American citizens remaining armed and unruly.

     Tyrants always disarm their victims-to-be. It’s the first and most reliable sign of a tyrant. Draw your own conclusions.


9. “Learn To Code.”

     Charlie Martin, a software engineer “by trade,” has some thoughts about it:

     [T]here is a whole body of knowledge that isn't necessarily mathematical (even though it is built on mathematics) and that isn't learned through multiple choice exams. It's not what programming is based on, it's what programmers do. It's a skill. It's a craft.

     Like plumbing and welding, it's a trade.

     I don't think a lot of people recognize this. Computer Science departments dare not: why, then they'd stop being an academic topic, they'd be a trade school. Shame too great to be borne.

     I’m of two minds about this. The other occupations normally referred to as “the trades” are essentially matters of learned procedure practiced on a defined domain of problems. In that regard, computer programming is like them. And of course, the software specialist does “trade” his expertise for payment of some sort. (Very few of us are “old money.”) But there’s a significant distinction that remains to be noted and appreciated: the software specialist must learn and comprehend his customer’s needs, even if the customer doesn’t grasp them himself.

     I’ve dealt with innumerable customers who could not articulate what they wanted in a coherent fashion. All they knew was that they wanted “a system” that would somehow improve their operations and reduce their burdens. That’s all very well, but the software specialist has to reduce that to comprehensible requirements that can then become procedures embedded in software – and not just any software, these days, as it must be comfortably usable by cretins workers uninterested in the intricacies behind the pretty screens they confront.

     The utterance I’ve heard most frequently after presenting a customer with what I thought he needed: “That’s not what I need.” And they’ve nearly always been right. I just had to draw their true needs and desires out of them item by painful item, as they’ve struggled to articulate them.

     In that regard, software is a vocation, a bit like the priesthood. A priest must often drag a penitent’s sins out of him one by one, amid much backing, filling, and qualification. At least, I have no better explanation for why they always come out of the confessional looking as if they’ve just moved sixteen tons.


     That’s all for today, Gentle Reader. It’s time for me to put what’s left of my nose against what’s left of the grindstone. Enjoy your Tuesday.

2 comments:

NITZAKHON said...

RE 4 specifically:

I think it's racism. You see, we white people (I'm as white-bread as you can get, visually... sans my kippa I'd fit right in an an Aryan Nation meeting) are EXPECTED to behave like civilized people. The blacks, they don't expect to do so. Same thing for the Fakestinians.

Do you know, BTW, they were handing out candy and pastries after the latest terror attack? Some "peace partners"... IMHO, give 24 hours notice to Gaza then carpet bomb it. Overlap the craters. Then send in the troops to kill anything born with two legs.

David Drake said...

Great link-arounds, and Thank You, Francis, for including the link of Fauxcahontas.